Years ago, people used the amino acid glycine as a sleep aid, to accelerate wound healing, and to quickly stop panic attacks. In fact, in the early 1990s glycine received a huge amount of research attention with doctors reporting a whole host of health problems it could help improve, or even eliminate.
Yet, it was quickly overshadowed by pharmaceutical compounds, relegating glycine to the status of old-fashioned or inferior.
Glycine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning the body can create it itself—which is why it has received little attention. Yet, being able to manufacture glycine doesn’t mean we have enough. In fact, with the constant onslaught from various chemicals in our water, food supply, and environment, I suspect our ability to synthesize glycine in adequate amounts is insufficient. Plus, during times of increased stress your body may not be able to keep up with its glycine demand.
Another problem is that our bodies require high-quality protein in order to create glycine. Yet, inadequate protein is common in the elderly—not only due to a poor diet, but also from a decreased ability to produce the digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid necessary for its proper digestion.
Before the drug craze began, doctors were researching and reporting on the benefits of using gelatin, one of nature’s richest sources of glycine. Gelatin is the protein substance made from boiling animal bones, skins, and tendons.
Doctors reported that adding gelatin to the diet could immediately improve digestion. It was also found to have a natural soothing and healing effect on the entire gastrointestinal tract. Not surprisingly, it was later learned that glycine is one of the few amino acids that actually stimulates the secretion of stomach acids.
Through the simple addition of glycine-rich bone broth, I’ve seen chronic joint and arthritic pain eliminated in a matter of weeks, practically all types of digestive and food allergy problems disappear for good, skin problems start to improve almost overnight, insomnia problems finally resolve, chronic muscle twitching and cramping stop permanently, and bone fragility and weakness become a thing of the past.
Bone broths are easy to make; the ingredients are few and simple. Begin with bones from fish, poultry, beef, lamb, or pork—preferably ones raised organically, or at least naturally. The bones can be raw or cooked, and they can be stripped of meat or still contain meat remnants and skin.
Cover the bones with water in a covered pot. Add a couple of tablespoons of one of the following per quart of water: apple cider vinegar, red or white wine vinegar, or lemon juice. Gently stir and then let it sit for about 30 minutes to let the acid go to work. (I recommend a pot made of either stainless steel or porcelain. I don’t suggest aluminum because the acidic vinegar or lemon juice may cause aluminum to leach into the broth.)
Bring to a boil and immediately cut back to a slow, steady simmer. Cover and simmer for 4 to 6 hours for fish, 6 to 8 hours for poultry, and 12 to 18 hours for the other types of bones. Keep a lid on the pot to avoid having to add water, but add water when necessary.
Once cooked, you can strain the liquid through a colander and consume it immediately either by sipping as a tea or soup, or making it into gravy.
The strained broth can also be used as the liquid to cook rice, beans, or grains. If you want to add vegetables, do so in the last 30 minutes of cooking. Feel free to add other ingredients—such as salt, pepper, butter, or olive oil—to enhance the flavor.
The broth can be stored in the refrigerator for about five days, or stored frozen for several months. Note: Never reheat the broth by microwaving as certain amino acids may convert into forms that can be toxic to the body.
I can’t remember a Thanksgiving as a child where Mom didn’t boil the leftover carcass of the turkey to make soup. Chickens were also made into soups, as were leftover beef bones. This practice of making bone broth, gravy, and soup was even more prevalent in generations before mine when food supplies were less abundant.
I’ve also traveled to dozens of third-world countries and discovered that the most abundant and tasty dishes are often the bone broths that have been slowly cooked for hours and then lightly seasoned with a sprinkle of chopped vegetables, chilies, fresh spices, or whatever happens to be available.
If you suffer from digestive complaints, gastrointestinal disease, food allergies, slow healing, liver problems, skin abnormalities, muscle pain/cramping/soreness, arthritis, or other joint pain/inflammation, then do yourself a favor and start including a bone broth in your diet each day. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the changes you’ll see in just a few short weeks.
Until next time,
Dr. David Williams